Giving Compass’ Take:
• Stanford Social Innovation Review examines how achieving marriage equality in the United States took time, tough questions, and coordinated efforts across politics, strategy, and messaging.
• Even though we still have a long way to go when it comes to LGBTQ rights, what can other movements and organizations learn from the progress made so far? How can we formulate more pointed, challenging questions?
The marriage equality movement in the United States was transformative. It not only changed the laws of the land, but also hearts and minds. Winning required three core components: a wholehearted embrace of political action, targeted funding of smart strategies, and a universally resonant message.
It also took time and endured significant setbacks. In late 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry. But by the end of that same year, 11 states passed constitutional amendments via ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage. And even as recently as 2008, a majority of California voters approved a measure making same-sex marriage illegal. Ultimately, the US Supreme Court didn’t make marriage equality the law of the land until 2015.
During that lengthy process, proponents were forced to ask themselves—and honestly answer—three difficult questions that any serious, winning advocacy campaign should ask:
- Have we moved out of our comfort zone and become political enough to build real power?
- Have we asked philanthropic leaders to join together to fund robust, coordinated education and advocacy campaigns designed to win?
- Have we done the right research with people outside the LGBT movement to find out what moved the most people?
Read the full article about the questions that transformed the LGBTQ movement by Patrick Guerriero at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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